Maranda’s 12 Days of Winter Break Fun

Kids playing in winter

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) There’s no reason for kids to be bored during winter break! Check out Maranda’s  guide to Winter Break fun from December 21 through January 1. To have a complete list of family events emailed to you each week, click here to subscribe to Maranda’s Five Star Family Fun Update.

Ongoing events in West Michigan>

Monday, December 21

MARANDA’S PICK: Live Nativity, Critter Barn, Zeeland
Monday, December 21 – Wednesday, December 23, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
View a live indoor nativity, listen to Christmas carols and the Christmas story. See photos of Bethlehem, and participate in hands-on fun. Donations appreciated.

Tales and Tails, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Monday, December 21, 10 a.m.
Learn about animals with a children’s book, then see a related animal up close and personal. Free! Registration appreciated.

Performers and Silver Bells, Lawton Senior Center
Monday, December 21, 11 a.m.
Hear the Paw Paw Village Players perform songs and hand bell. No reservations needed, but please call (269) 487-7935 if you plan to stay for lunch.

Christmas Break Open Swim, Holland Community Aquatic Center
Monday, December 21 – Wednesday, December 23, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. & 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Come for open swim featuring Splash Zone indoor water park, AquaTrack floating obstacle course, Zip Line, water cannons, and more! See website for rates.

Tuesday, December 22

MARANDA’S PICK: Christmas Break at the Kroc, Grand Rapids Kroc Center
December 21 – January 2 (except January 1)
Special holiday hours and activities including climbing wall, open swim, game room, and art room. See website for schedule and details.

Story Corner, Kalamazoo Nature Center
Tuesday, December 22, 10 – 11 a.m.
Hear a story about the natural world, and see a live animal! Followed by an outdoor walk (weather permitting). For children 5 and younger accompanied by an adult.

The Original Dickens Carolers, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Tuesday, December 22, 6 – 8 p.m.
Carolers will roam the corridor singing holiday tunes. Free with admission.

Wednesday, December 23

MARANDA’S PICK: ZooLights, Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek
Through December 23, 5 – 8 p.m.
Enjoy the zoo decorated for the holidays! See animals in their winter habitats. Inside is Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, holiday refreshments, special activities, and more. $4 for members, $5 for non-members, children under 2 are free.

Tales and Tails, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Wednesday, December 23, 10 a.m.
Learn about animals with a children’s book, then see a related animal up close and personal. Free! Registration appreciated.

Thursday, December 24

MARANDA’S PICK: Christmas Lite Show, Fifth Third Ballpark, Comstock Park
Through Saturday, January 2
See impressive animated light displays throughout the parking lots of Fifth Third Ballpark. $17 per car, $2 coupon available on website.

Friday, December 25

MARANDA’S PICK: Christmas dinners in West Michigan

Saturday, December 26

MARANDA’S PICK: Skate and Create, Grand Rapids Art Museum
Saturday, December 26, 1 – 4 p.m.
Enjoy skating at Rosa Parks Circle, then warm up with a free cup of hot cocoa and art-making fun at GRAMStudio. Get $1 off admission to the museum with coupon online or in the Skate Rental Room.

Coloring Club, Carolyn Stich Studio, Holland
Saturday, December 26, 10 a.m. – noon
Coloring, breakfast, and fun! Proceeds go to Kids’ Food Basket. $15.

Holiday Tours, Hackley & Hume Historic Site, Muskegon
Saturday, December 26, 4 – 8 p.m. – Sunday, December 27, 1 – 4 p.m.
Take a candle light tour of the historic homes. Admission $5 – $7, free 12 and under.

Sunday, December 27

MARANDA’S PICK: Snowflake Break, Grand Rapids Public Museum
December 19 – January 3
Family-friendly programs and activities throughout the day. Crafts daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Museum is open late until 8 p.m. on December 21 – 23 and 28 – 30.

Monday, December 28

MARANDA’S PICK: Parents Take-a-Break Days, Air Zoo, Portage
Monday, December 28, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Parents can drop off their kids (ages potty trained to 16) for a day of fun at Air Zoo. Advance registration required. $10 per hour.

Tales and Tails, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Monday, December 28, 10 a.m.
Learn about animals with a children’s book, then see a related animal up close and personal. Free! Registration appreciated.

Backyard Bird Feeding, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Monday, December 28, 6 – 7 p.m.
Discover the best seeds to feed birds, what combination of feeders attracts the most birds, and the dos and don’ts of backyard bird feeding. $4 per person or free to members. Registration required.

Live Nativity, Critter Barn, Zeeland
Monday, December 28 – Wednesday, December 30, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
View a live indoor nativity, listen to Christmas carols and the Christmas story. See photos of Bethlehem, and participate in hands-on fun. Donations appreciated.

Christmas Break Open Swim, Holland Community Aquatic Center
Monday, December 28 – Thursday, December 31, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. & 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Come for open swim featuring Splash Zone indoor water park, AquaTrack floating obstacle course, Zip Line, water cannons, and more! See website for rates.

Tuesday, December 29

MARANDA’S PICK: Winter-time Walks, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Tuesdays and Saturdays through December 29
Bundle up and go on an interactive outdoor discovery walk through the Children’s Garden. Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. and Saturdays at 11:15 a.m. Free with admission.

Winter Break Day Camps, Air Zoo, Portage
Tuesday, December 29 – Wednesday, December 30, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Science-based day camps teach children science, technology, engineering, art, and math. $50 per child. See website for list of camps and registration information.

Animal CSI, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Tuesday, December 29, 11 a.m. – noon
Be a nature detective as you look for animal signs. Dress for the weather. $4 per person or free to members. Registration is required.

Owl Pellet Dissection, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Tuesday, December 29, 1 – 2 p.m.
Find out what an owl eats by dissecting an owl pellet. $4 per person or free to members. Registration is required.

The Reindeer Are Coming! Byron Center Branch Library
Tuesday, December 29, 4 p.m.
See live reindeer and get your picture taken with them. Free for all ages!

Winter Art Camp, Grand Rapids Art Museum
Tuesday, December 29 – Wednesday, December 30
Children ages 4 to 9 will experience art-making fun, in-gallery activities, and even an art installation. Parent participation welcome and encouraged. See website for registration.

Wednesday, December 30

MARANDA’S PICK: Animal Encounters, Kalamazoo Nature Center
Wednesdays, 10 – 11 a.m.
Visit each Wednesday morning to learn about different Michigan animals, hear a story, color a picture, and meet the animal! Geared for children 5 and under with an adult.

New Year’s Eve Storytime Countdown, Hackley Public Library, Muskegon
Wednesday, December 30, 11 a.m.
Stories, craft, a treat, and New Year’s Eve countdown for kids.

Live Birds of Prey, Outdoor Discovery Center, Holland
Wednesday, December 30, 11 a.m. – noon
Learn about birds of prey through hands-on time with bird artifacts and have your photo taken with a bird. $5 per person, free to members.

Winter Open House, Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon
Wednesday, December 30, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Free event open to the public.

Thursday, December 31

MARANDA’S DOUBLE PICK: New Year’s Eve Party, Craig’s Cruisers, Wyoming
Thursday, December 31
Wristband gets you the buffet and unlimited go-karts, ropes course, laser tag, bumper cars, and Frog Hopper. Choose between 4 – 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. for $26.99 per person.

MARANDA’S DOUBLE PICK: New Year’s Early Eve, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Thursday, December 31, 6 – 8 p.m.
Crafts, art, playing, kid-friendly hors d’oeurves and cocktail bar, music, and countdown and balloon drop at 7:30 p.m. $12 per person ages one and up. $10 for GRCM Pals Members. Make reservations early!

Countdown to Happy “Noon” Year, KDL Lowell Englehardt Library
Thursday, December 31, 10 a.m.
Countdown, noisemakers, goodies, and fun for all ages. Free!

Countdown to Noon, Forever Curious Children’s Museum, Fennville
Thursday, December 31, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
New Year’s celebration for children with activities, play time, snacks, photo station, disco, noon balloon drop, and more! Admission: $5.

Noon Year’s Eve, Herrick District Library, Holland
Thursday, December 31, 11 a.m. – noon
Recommended for ages 18 months and up. Stories, dancing, noisemakers, and a countdown to noon. Free!

Countdown to Happy “Noon” Year, various KDL locations
Thursday, December 31, 11:30 a.m.
Countdown, noisemakers, goodies, and fun for all ages. Free at Byron Center, Caledonia, Cascade, Grandville, Kentwood, Plainfield Township, and Wyoming locations.

New Year’s Fest, Bronson Park, Kalamazoo
Thursday, December 31, 5 p.m. – midnight
Performances, bands, storytelling, horse-drawn trolley rides, comedy, and a ball drop and fireworks at midnight. $5 advanced tickets, $10 day of.

Grand Rapids Griffins Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration, Van Andel Arena
Thursday, December 31, 6 p.m.
Post-game indoor fireworks show and open skate. See website for tickets.

Friday, January 1

MARANDA’S PICK: New Year’s Day $1 Special, The Mud Room, Ada
Friday, January 1, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Studio fee is only $1 per person to paint pottery. Seating is first come, first served basis. Pottery and glass projects priced individually.

Ongoing Events

Where to get photos with Santa in West Michigan

ZooLights, Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek
Through December 23, 5 – 8 p.m.
Enjoy the zoo decorated for the holidays! See animals in their winter habitats. Inside is Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, holiday refreshments, special activities, and more. $4 for members, $5 for non-members, children under 2 are free.

International Festival of Lights, downtown Battle Creek
Through December 31
Beautiful light displays line the river. Candy Can Forest at Mill Race Park, Santa visits.

Christmas Experience Tour, Deer Tracks Junction, Cedar Springs
Wednesdays through Sundays through December 24
See Whoville, Santa and his reindeer, see and pet animals, enjoy snacks, and play. See website for details and pricing.

Christmas Break at the Kroc, Grand Rapids Kroc Center
December 21 – January 2 (except January 1)
Special holiday hours and activities including climbing wall, open swim, game room, and art room. See website for schedule and details.

Holiday Special, Craig’s Cruisers, Wyoming
Through January 3
Choose from 1 buffet and 7 attractions or 1 buffet, 6 attractions, and $5 video credit for $30 plus tax.

Toddler Tuesdays, Grand Rapids Kroc Center
Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – noon
Drop-in time for parents and toddlers with swimming and gym play with toys, balls, scooters, and more. Free for members, non-members: one free adult per paid child admission of $5.50.

Free Tuesdays at the GRAM, Grand Rapids Art Museum
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free general admission to the museum all day and reduced admission to special exhibitions.

Winter-time Walks, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Tuesdays and Saturdays through December 29
Bundle up and go on an interactive outdoor discovery walk through the Children’s Garden. Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. and Saturdays at 11:15 a.m. Free with admission.

Animal Encounters, Kalamazoo Nature Center
Wednesdays, 10 – 11 a.m.
Visit each Wednesday morning to learn about different Michigan animals, hear a story, color a picture, and meet the animal! Geared for children 5 and under with an adult.

Snowflake Break, Grand Rapids Public Museum
December 19 at 9 a.m. – December 30 at 5 p.m.
Family-friendly programs and activities. Crafts daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christmas Lite Show, Fifth Third Ballpark, Comstock Park
Through Saturday, January 2
See impressive animated light displays throughout the parking lots of Fifth Third Ballpark. $17 per car, $2 coupon available on website.

Christmas and Holiday Traditions around the World, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Through Sunday, January 3
See more than 40 international trees and displays, thousands of lights, and enjoy strolling carolers and rooftop reindeer. Closed December 25 and January 1. See website for hours.

Breton Village Train Display, Breton Village Mall, Grand Rapids
Through January 18
Traditional train display is fun for all ages with optional scavenger hunt. Free! See website for schedule.

The Discovery of King Tut, Grand Rapids Public Museum
Through January 31
Exhibition explores the legendary tomb and its treasures as they were at the moment of their discovery. Tickets: $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $13 for children 3-17, children 2 and under are free. Discounted admission for members. Tickets include general admission and free carousel ride.

Ice Skating, Rosa Parks Circle, Grand Rapids
Through March 6
Outdoor ice skating! Skate rental is free with paid admission. See website for hours and rates.

Millennium Park Ice Rink, Portage
Through March 6
Outdoor refrigerated rink with skate rental, skate sharpening, concessions, restrooms, warming house, and lockers. See website for hours and rates.

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